During adolescence, young people experience many changes as they transition from childhood into young adulthood. These changes include physical, behavioral, cognitive, and emotional-social development. Public health professionals who work with adolescents need substantive information about the trajectory of young people's lives during all phases of adolescent development.
Adolescent Preconception Health
Public health professionals recognize that health trajectories develop over the course of a lifetime. Health behaviors initiated during adolescence have a great impact on future health and reproductive outcomes. Adolescent preconception health focuses on taking steps during reproductive years to protect the health of a baby that an adolescent might have in the future. All adolescents, including young men and young women, can benefit from preconception health whether or not they plan to have a baby one day.
Comprehensive Systems for Adolescent Health
Given the dynamic, transitionary changes associated with adolescence, young people find themselves needing guidance and support due to their susceptibility to impulsive and risky behavior. In order to best serve adolescents, a comprehensive systems approach should be utilized. Parents, health care providers, schools, community services, and other local and state-level systems play a unique and intricate role in adolescents' lives and could help ensure youth obtain the skills needed to navigate the transition into adulthood.
Health Reform and Adolescents/Young Adults
Key provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) uniquely position State Title V programs to ensure ACA implementation meets the health needs of adolescents and young adults. Relevant issues related to adolescent health include the individual mandate, private insurance provisions, and Medicaid Expansion.
Positive Youth Development & Youth Engagement
Positive youth development (PYD) is an evidence-based public health strategy for developing innate strengths in young people that support healthy behavioral development and successful transition to adulthood. PYD is an approach utilized by organizations and communities to organize services, opportunities, and supports so that all youth can be engaged in the processes needed to reach their full potential.
Reproductive and Sexual Health
Many young people engage in risky sexual behaviors during adolescence. These behaviors place adolescents at risk for HIV infection, STDs, unintended pregnancy, and unintended adverse health outcomes. To reduce sexual risk behavior among adolescents, youth-serving organizations and state programs should encourage positive young development by promoting positive attitudes and behaviors that support reproductive and sexual health.
Schools play a critical role in promoting healthy behaviors among young people. After the family, schools are the primary institution responsible for adolescent and child development because schools have direct and consistent contact with the vast majority of our nation's young people.